Madhya Pradesh revenue secretary backs staff against election panel’s transfer order
The EC called for transfer of two tehsildars and three naib tehsildars but principal secretary (revenue) conducted a separate inquiry, in which he said he found nothing against the five officials.india Updated: Apr 02, 2017 23:59 IST
The Madhya Pradesh principal secretary (revenue) has chosen to back his department officials caught in the Bhind EVM controversy by overlooking the Election Commission’s (EC) recommendation to transfer them.
The state government has so far transferred Bhind collector Ilayaraja T and SP Anil Singh Kushwaha in accordance with the EC directive after the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines in the district reportedly dispensed a BJP slip against a non-BJP candidate button.
Apart from Ilayaraja and Kushwaha, six police inspectors, the sub-divisional officer of police (SDoP), an additional superintendent of police and a sub divisional magistrate were among the 19 government servants transferred.
The EC had also called for the transfer of two tehsildars and three naib tehsildars but principal secretary (revenue) Arun Pandey instead decided to conduct a separate inquiry, in which he said he found nothing against the five officials.
“Being the head of the department I am supposed to protect the dignity of my staff. There is no specific reason as to why I should transfer them. I found nothing against them in the inquiry. They don’t belong to the district. They were posted only a few months back. Also, they had no involvement with the EVM machines,” Pandey told HT.
Pandey said he had written a 10-page letter to the EC, explaining why he had decided to not transfer the tehsildars and naib tehsildars.
“I have nothing against the EC but how I can shift my officers without any reason? If EC gives the reason I will certainly look into it. The natural justice too demands that the officers must be given the reason as to why they are being shifted. If I shift them without any reason they and my entire staff would feel demoralised,” he said.
Madhya Pradesh chief electoral officer Saleena Singh said she had forwarded Pandey’s letter to the EC.
Protest against officer’s transfer
Following the EC order, V Kiran Gopal was appointed the Bhind collector and Sushant Saxena the district’s SP, official sources said.
Residents of Bhind carried out a dharna outside the collector’s office on Sunday to protest against Ilayaraja’s transfer, which they claimed would hamper the pace of development in the region.
The protestors said they wanted the collector to continue serving in the district as his “honest approach” was paving the way for the area’s growth.